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INSIDE: Roam the Gnome’s Guide to the Best Healthy Road Trip Food & Snacks.

Take a look at our complete list of healthy road trip snacks for kids and family. 

These are the best road trip snacks that won’t break the bank, but will save you LOTS of money on the road.

This is how we travel with kids on a budget, because other than flights and accommodation, food is the next most expensive part of travel. 

Take a look at the best road trip foods to pack below. 

Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking on one of these links, we may receive a small commission at NO extra cost to you.

image - beef jerky in hot car by dino-reichmut

Image credit: Dino Reichmuth via Unsplash


The first most important thing you need for a road trip is a cooler bag for your healthy snack ideas, or they will be rotten or soggy before you’ve set off. 

It’s our number one tip. 

Take our advice, so you don’t have to throw away your delicious snacks & nibbles.  

Now fill it with all these road trip snack ideas. 

RELATED: Best Coolers on the Market for Road Trips & Overnight Camping Adventures

PIN healthy road trip food snacks 800

Round up of the best healthy road trip food and snacks 

Correct at time of publication on Roam the Gnome. Please check with venue for updates. We apologise in advance if there have been any changes we are unaware of. All prices in US dollars, unless otherwise stated

Here it is.

Our list of the best car snacks for road trips for a family vacation so you can keep up with your healthy eating habits, and DON’T need to rely on questionable junk food with no taste from the gas station. 

“Road Trip Food List” 

Coming soon – PDF printable Healthy Road Trip Food List. 

mixed nuts by ruth hartnup

Image credit: Ruth Hartnup via Flickr CC BY-2.0


No.1: Dried fruits and nuts

These are the easiest snacks for traveling in the car.

Pack them in a zip lock bag, or a small sealable container. 

  • fruit and nut mixes, trail mix
  • nut mixes – almonds, pistachio, cashew, brazil nuts, hazelnuts
  • dried pumpkin seeds
  • dried chickpeas
  • dried fava beans
  • dried fruits – raisins, sultanas, cranberries, dried blueberries, dried mango, dried bananas, dried apple rings
  • yoghurt covered sultanas
  • dried fruit rolls (whole foods section) 
  • fruit leathers
  • Bhuja snacks 

RELATED: The Ultimate “Road Trip Food List” (update coming soon) 

cheese and fruit plate by torbakhopper flickr

Image credit: Torbakhopper via Flickr CC BY-2.0

No.2: Dry Crackers and Biscuits

Road trips foods can also include:

  • Gold Fish snacks
  • Jatz crackers
  • Water crackers (and cubes of cheese and dip- see below)
  • Breadsticks
  • CrackerJacks 
  • Soya crackers
  • Pretzels

beef jerky by mike mozart

Image credit: Mike Mozart via Flickr CC BY-2.0

No.3: Best Non Perishable Road Trip Food

When you don’t have a cooler and need non perishable healthy snacks that don’t need to be kept in the fridge, try these healthy road trip snacks from the pantry:

  • Rice cakes or corn crackers, saltine crackers, multigrain crackers, or sao crackers, topped with peanut butter, apple sauce, or tahini or mashed avocado or tinned fish
  • Beef jerky (try the COFFEE jerky, and the vegemite jerky!)
  • Sweet potato crisps
  • Veggie straws or baked veggie chips
  • Cashew nut butter or sunflower seed butter- with slices of apple or carrot veggie sticks
  • Mini flavored cans, tins or pouches of tuna (or salmon)
  • Packaged “bliss balls” – date and cashew nut balls
  • Homemade energy balls with seeds, nut butter and honey
  • Crunchy chickpeas 
  • Roasted pumpkin seeds
  • Sunflower seeds or pepitas
  • Roasted almonds or spiced cashews
  • Dried edamame beans 
  • Calbee harvest snaps 
  • Carman’s nut bars and Carman’s muesli bars
  • Dried apple snacks, dried banana, dried peaches, dried mango slices
  • Homemade granola mix, granola bars
  • Dried fruit and nuts mix, trail mix
  • Healthy breakfast bars
  • Single serve of ready to eat porridge cups or chia pudding from the pantry
  • Chickpea puffs
  • Soya crisps

MORE ideas for non perishable snacks for travel

Here’s more somewhat healthy non refrigerated snacks for travel. 

  • Popcorn
  • Potato chips
  • Grain waves snacks
  • Small pots of dried cereal (cheerios, nutrigrain) 
  • Gluten free rice biscuits 
  • Sultana slice biscuits
  • Date slice 
  • Real fruit roll ups (not the junk food version)
  • Cup of noodles (healthy brands, without MSG seasoning) – BYO hot water, or ask for a cup of hot water at a fast food restaurant or fuel station
  • Cup of soup in a packet (add hot water)
  • Ready to eat soups from the pantry (if you have access to a microwave enroute)

These non refrigerated road trip food choices will keep you going, when there’s no other options. 

baked goods pic by jamieanne

Image credit: Jamieanne via Flickr CC BY-ND 2.0

No.4: Food to take on a Road Trip from the Bakery or Grocery Store

More healthy snacks for car rides. 

  • Croissants with jam or lemon butter
  • Cinnamon scrolls
  • Danish pastries
  • Homemade granola bars 
  • KIND bars (nuts and spices variety pack)
  • Oat cakes, oat bars
  • Kashi Crunchy Chocolate Chip chia granola bars
  • Protein bars
  • Museli bars (Mother Earth, Carmen and Brookfarm brands are our favorite in Australia)
  • Rice cookies
  • Ready made crepes from the supermarket
  • Store bought pikelets
  • Store bought muffins 
  • Store bought banana bread slices

apples by michael dorausch flickr 6850225451 ATT REQ

Image credit: Michael Dorausch via Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0


No.5: Fruit and Vegetables

Fresh fruits are the BEST healthy snacks for kids ever, and if you can keep them cool so they are crispy when you cut them up and not all soggy, all the better. 

Hot tip: do carry a paring knife and small chopping board

  • Squeezable fruit and vegetable pouches
  • Apples  (quarter it, or make apple star slices)
  • Carrot sticks
  • Cucumber sticks
  • Bananas
  • Grapes
  • Celery sticks
  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries
  • Chopped brocolli
  • Red Bell pepper strips (capsicum)
  • Broccolli and cauliflower florets (with dip)
  • Avocado
  • Snow peas
  • Snap peas
  • Edamame soy beans (salted)

Hot tip:  Take cashew nut butter with you, and dip apple wedges in it for a protein boost.


yoghurt yalkut drink pic by bfishadow

Image credit: BFishadow via Flickr CC BY-2.0

No.6: Dairy products & Fridge Goods

We can’t live without our refrigerated dairy foods when road tripping!

  • Mini Babybel cheeses, or Laughing Cow cheese portions
  • Spreadable cream cheese for crackers and rice crackers
  • Small pots of yoghurt, yogurt pouches
  • Squeezable custard pouches
  • String cheese
  • Mozzarella string cheese
  • Hard boiled eggs
  • Yakult probiotics
  • Salami sticks
  • Chia seed pudding
  • Rice pudding
  • Kabana and cubes of cheese (with jatz crackers) 
  • Dips – basil pesto dip, tzatziki, hommus, beetroot dip

hommus share table by pierre janineh flickr

Image credit: Pierre Janineh via Flickr CC BY-ND 2.0


No.7: Quick Road Trip meals to take 

These are the best homemade road trip food snacks to take when you want to keep eating healthy.

These make ahead meals for road trip fun will definitely save you money and wasted time. 

  • Small pots of hommus or beetroot dip, with cut up pieces of pita bread, or turkish bread for dipping
  • Round of brie cheese, and seaweed crackers (BYO plastic knife) 
  • Homemade banana bread or banana cake
  • Homemade banana muffins (or banana raspberry, or blueberry muffins)
  • Rice porridge
  • Overnight oats with stewed apple, banana, nut butter, trail nut mix
  • Zucchini slice
  • Pasta bake
  • Homemade egg and bacon pies (delicious hot or cold) 
  • Banana slices, strawberry and blueberries with cream (great sweet treat for kids who don’t eat sugar)

ham salad sandwich by jwalsh

Image credit: JWalsh via Flickr CC BY-2.0

No.8: Best Road Trip Sandwiches 

Make small crust-free sandwiches on whole grain bread, cut into triangles.

Or add your sandwich filling to your favorite bread:

  • plain white burger roll 
  • a baguette
  • a sub
  • wraps or tortillas
  • rye breads
  • ciabatta
  • brioche
  • pita
  • naan
  • lavash
  • chapiti
  • english muffin
  • pumperknickel
  • crispbread

If you get bored, put your sandwich fillings into a croissant or a bagel. 

Hot tip: If you are going on a road trip for longer than a few days, take a small sandwich press with you. THIS may just be the most important non-essential thing you take! 

healthy road trip food baguette sandwich by robmadeo flickr

Image credit: Robmadeo via Flickr CC BY-2.0

Try these good road trip sandwich ideas for road trips:

  • ham and cheese 
  • ham, cheese, and avocado (or ham, cheese and tomato)
  • egg salad 
  • Coronation egg mayo sandwiches (curried egg with mango chutney)
  • cheese and pickle sandwich
  • turkey club sandwich (turkey breast, dijon mustard, cheese, bacon, tomato, lettuce)
  • BLT 
  • mozzarella and salami/pepperoni
  • tuna noçoise sandwich (tuna, mayo, tomatoes, kalamata olives, anchovies, basil leaves)
  • lox and cream (salmon and cream cheese) sandwich
  • camembert and cranberry sauce  

Our tip is to take a small jar of mango chutney, green pesto, or caramelised onion with you.

Add this to all sandwiches for a smash hit!

healthy road trip food vegetarian sandwiches by sodanie chea flickr

Image credit: Sodanie Chea via Flickr CC BY-2.0

No.9: Best Vegetarian sandwiches for road trips

Don’t use sliced bread from the supermarket for these sandwiches. Try ciabatta, panini, tortilla wraps or subs. 

  • roasted eggplant lettuce, basil, aioli mayonnaise and cheese  (add sliced tomato at the last minute if you like)
  • avocado, with egg and mayonnaise
  • brie cheese with caramelised onion (best in a sandwich toaster so it comes out gooey!)
  • mozzarella, tomato, lettuce, basil leaves, and mayo (can swap out swiss cheese for the mozzarella) 
  • peanut butter and jelly 
  • grated carrot, sliced cucumber, and roasted garlic hummus (with or without cheese)
  • corn and mayonnaise (a popular staple in Japan!) 
  • tricolor salad sandwich with cucumber, red onion, avocado, tomato, beetroot, and hummus or tahini 
  • pesto, beetroot, red pepper, grated carrot, green salad leaves 
  • cucumber and herbed cream cheese
  • grated carrot and raisin sandwich 
  • banana and nut butter sandwiches (cashew butter, almond butter or peanut butter – try it in a wrap too)
  • nutella and sliced banana (try it in a wrap. Or warm it up for extra deliciousness!)

If you are doing a road trip in Australia, don’t forget the good old vegemite and cheese sandwich! 

vegetarian rice paper sushi rolls by ella olsson flickr

Image credit: Ella Olssen via Flickr CC BY-2.0

No.10: Best Healthy Make Ahead meals for road trips

Looking for meals that travel well? 


  • spaghetti bolognese (use spiral or elbow pasta)
  • pizza slices
  • pre-made sushi rolls 
  • vegetarian rice paper rolls with sweet mango or peanut dipping sauce
  • Asian slaw salads 
  • Pesto pasta salads
  • German potato salads 

healthy road trip food quiche with salad by christoph scholz


No.11: Gourmet camping food ideas

If you love your gourmet goodies, add these to your road trip picnic basket. 

  • leak and swiss chard frittata
  • potato and bacon layered quiche, with sprout salad 
  • canapes – prawn spring rolls, lamb and feta burgers with minty yoghurt, teriyaki beef lettuce cups, peanut chicken satay sticks,  furikake devilled eggs
  • mini savory tarts or quiches with onion, brie or goats cheese, and caramelised onion 
  • vol-au-vents filled with chicken and mushroom, crab and asparagus, goat cheese, dill and cranberry sauce, or spinach ricotta and feta filling 
  • zucchini and bacon slice 
  • ham and parmesan cheese muffins
  • stacked salads in a jar (german potato salad, pasta salad, rainbow salad with vinegarette dressing, or crunchy green salad with mint and cucumber dressing for starters)
  • tabbouleh, stuffed vine leaves 
  • classic tuna salad, or cold crispy chicken caesar salad 
  • ciabatta or focaccia bread sandwiches with gourmet fillings (brie cheese, cranberry, camembert, 
  • fresh fruit platter
  • glazed chicken legs 
  • pesto and parmesan spiral pasta salad 
  • iced tea 

charcuterie board by mon petit chou photography flickr

Image credit: Mon Petit Chou Photography via Flickr CC BY-2.0

No.12: Easy Charcuterie Board (Savory)

Here’s your charcuterie shopping list

  • Cooked and dry cured deli meats such as hungarian salami, doube smoked ham, sausages, pate, kabana, smoked turkey, spanish jamon
  • antipasti
  • Cheese – all the cheese (blue, camembert, brie, cheddar, etc) 
  • Olives & stuffed olives, stuffed bell peppers, capers, roasted or sundried tomatoes
  • Pickles
  • Olives 
  • vine leaves 
  • nuts (cashews,
  • Dried Fruit (apricots, prunes, dried mango, apple, banana) 
  • cheese straws or gourmet crackers
  • sliced baguette bread
  • cranberry sauce, honey, or jam
  • fruit – grapes, figs, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, apricots, plums, citrus, melon, sliced apple
  • yoghurt covered sultanas 
  • hummus or guacomole dip
  • salad dressing, hot sauces, seasoned oils, olive oil, and dips (in small containers) 

chocolate charcuterie board rocky road

No.13: Easy Chocolate Charcuterie Board (Sweet)

Here’s a sweet treat to beat all others. 

Build a board full of delicious chocolate nibbles for all to share. 

Add your choice of these delicious morsels to the share platter:

  • chocolate chips
  • maltesers
  • chocolate covered pretzels
  • Hershey’s kisses
  • chocolate covered peanuts
  • chocolate covered macadamias
  • Darryl Lea chocolate marshmallow rocky road (everyone’s favorite) 
  • slices of chocolate nut roll
  • brownie bites
  • salted caramel sauce 
  • Nutella (with a spoon for drizzling)
  • Chocolate pocky sticks
  • chocolate wafers
  • chocolate Corinthian wafers 
  • squares of white, milk and dark chocolate
  • strawberries, raspberries, blueberries
  • yoghurt covered sultanas
  • cacao nibs 
  • chocolate buckinis from Loving Earth

bamboo travel plates


Road Trip Travel Kit

When you want to enjoy cross country road trip food, you need a few utensils and tools. 

Remember to pack these things to make it easier to eat and manage your healthy car snacks:

  • napkins
  • water bottle for each person
  • zip lock bags for leftovers
  • travel cutlery set (this one has stainless steel flatwear including knife, fork, spoon, smoothie straw & cleaning brush, juice straw and chopsticks) 
  • stackable bamboo plates in 4 different rainbow colors so you don’t lose them, and kids can have their own color
  • bamboo snack bowls in rainbow colors too
  • bamboo cups
  • small wooden chopping board
  • glad wrap, or beeswax wraps
  • two-handled bowl for washing up (store your travel essentials in it during your road trip)

Best Kids Travel Tray

We love this handy road trip tray for the car that clips onto the back of the car seat.

It has drink and snack holders so things don’t tip over, and side walls so things don’t roll off.

Plus it folds down and packs away easily.

You can use it on the plane too! 

healthy road trip snacks at caltex gas station by sham hardy

Image credit: Sham Hardy via Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0

How to buy Healthy Road Trip Snacks at Gas Station? 

Run out of food, or didn’t pack enough? 

These are the best healthy foods to buy at a gas station:

  • air-popped popcorn
  • dry roasted nuts
  • string cheese
  • milk drinks (malted milk, plain milk, milk smoothies will fill you up till you can get to a supermarket)
  • bananas, apples
  • protein bars
  • hard boiled eggs
  • whole grain crackers 
  • sandwiches

Take a look at the gas station chill cabinet for more ideas.  

lufthansa airplane by aero icarus

Image credit: Aero Icarus via Flickr CC BY-SA 2.0


You can also reuse this good road trip food snacks list for flying. 

Hot tip about your healthy airplane snacks: Remember you will need to throw all fresh foods, fruits and vegetables BEFORE you enter a new country, so take only what you will eat to stop food waste. 

What to eat to stop ear pain when flying

If you want to know how to avoid ear pain during flight for your kids, the best way is to chew something. Here’s a few ideas.

  • naturally colored jelly beans for airplane take off and landing. Try these organic Jelly Belly ones. 
  • ditto fruit gummies 
  • ditto chewing gum (for kids over 6)
  • ditto sugar free lolly pops

Want more ideas for travel? See Roam the Gnome travel tips.

road trip car window pic by victor u

Image credit: JWalsh via Flickr CC BY-2.0

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